What has always distinguished the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service from other graduate programs is that a significant portion of its curriculum is direct field service work. These “hands-on” field service projects range from local work in Arkansas communities to international projects on each of the world’s six inhabited continents.
Field service promotes the school's vision by emphasizing the “practice” of public service by placing students in challenging environments in which they work with community leaders to help build healthy, engaged, and vibrant communities, both in Arkansas and around the world.
The Master of Public Service (MPS) degree program requires students to complete three courses where they engage in field projects: Practicum, International Public Service Project (IPSP), and Capstone.
The Practicum Project takes student teams into Arkansas communities, including the impoverished Mississippi River Delta, to foster community development and social change in areas such as economic development, environmental awareness, public education, youth leadership development, and health improvement. This primary field service fosters teamwork and direct application of classroom skills.
Examples of project work include but are not limited to:
The Clinton School’s International Public Service Projects (IPSP) are designed to provide a practical “hands-on” experience outside the United States with an organization that fosters an immersive cross-cultural experience or domestically with an organization that has a global mission to its work within the United States. The IPSP provides students with the opportunity to apply learning acquired during the first year of the MPS curriculum by testing newly developed skills in a setting that stretches the boundaries of one’s existing cultural and experiential world ultimately creating the conditions for academic, professional and personal growth.
All students select their own international project that builds on the knowledge and skills they have gained in their first two semesters at the Clinton School, along with learning acquired from their prior academic and public service experiences. Students spend the spring semester researching and developing a project plan before their projects begin. The faculty director and the partner organization approve the project plan before it is implemented over 8-10 weeks during the summer term.
The Capstone (final) Project is the culminating field service project, challenging students to put their learned skills into action and complete an in-depth public service project to benefit a government or nonprofit agency and ultimately lead the student into a career upon graduation.
The Capstone employs an independent study format overseen by a UACS faculty advisor. Through the Capstone students:
Students have three (3) semesters to complete Capstone once they enroll in the course.
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.